Camber’s beach and the pubs were packed over the Easter weekend , although the worst traffic jam waited until Tuesday morning.
The throaty roar of motorbikes by Strand Quay was sometimes deafening though, but the nearby Rye Heritage Centre stayed busy). Tragically one motor cyclist died on the road out to Camber on a very sharp bend.
Many people were out on their bicycles too, including two of the Rye News volunteers, and many others were on foot – though two apparently “missing persons” were found.
Visitor numbers were expected be in excess of 10,000 per day though the traffic did not reach “summer gridlock” level (with roads being closed) and, for most of the time, buses were going to and from Camber Sands.
The sea was busy as well though and “Camber Sands was manic” said local resident Carol Macdonald, adding “however all I am sure enjoyed the sunshine. I really did”.
Rye News‘ newest writer Axa Arcadia said she cycled out to Camber on Monday and it was “absolutely hell. There were people everywhere and even at 7pm it was still quite busy”.
And when I walked there from Rye around Sunday lunchtime via the mouth of the River Rother at high tide, there were so many people (on the beach and on the dunes) that the only way to get past was by wading ankle deep in the sea.
Lifeguards were present, but not very obvious on the very long beach, and I was stopped by people at either end a couple of times looking for somewhere to eat and looking for the lavatories.
In both cases the answer was “in the middle where the tall flags are” and Rother Council’s Beach Patrol did not seem to be present. Getting to and from Rye from London was not always easy either.
Another Rye News reporter, Seana Lanigan, had a friend visiting for the day on Saturday who had to stand from London’s St Pancras and in the evening at Rye not everyone could get on the trains.
“It looked like a packed commuter train” said Seana of one of them “with faces pressed against the windows,” but, she added, “at least those people had had the best fish and chips in the world.”
Marino’s in The Mint in Rye apparently had a queue outside for most of Saturday for their fish and chips, and most of the pubs were also very busy. And on Sunday the Ypres behind the castle – though a little out of the way – had no tables free in the garden, and the food orders were coming fast and furiously.
On the other hand, despite the visitor numbers, another Rye News reporter Nick Forman said there were still parking spaces to be found.
Rye News Editor said Jempsons was full of visitors on Saturday busily restocking their caravans, he assumed, on the many sites in the area.
He however, like others, was busy mucking about on boats – though he claims he was cleaning, tidying, and sorting out ropes etc rather than actually sailing.
Others were sailing, though, and I saw small and large boats going in and out on the fast-moving high tides over the weekend, including one with pirate flags – as well as some fishing trawlers besieged by seagulls.
On Sunday many small boats could be seen out in the bay (possibly racing) but the lifeboat did not seem to be needed – though the BBC reported that one was needed just before the weekend to rescue refugees crossing over from France near Dungeness, just along the coast.
Rye News writer Heidi Foster said she had cycled down to Rye Harbour for a quiet drink at the William the Conqueror pub, but when I walked there on Monday holidaymakers were queueing outside at noon to order food. Also nearly all the tables outside were taken and I grabbed the last so I could enjoy my Greek lunch (pitta, dips and olives) and pretend I was in Zakinthos.
And on the way back I met a tourist (with good English) who had got lost on the way to Camber Castle and needed some careful redirection to the path from Brede Lock.
However large numbers of cyclists and walkers (both sides of the Rother river) seemed to have maps, though I had (on the Camber side of the river) to rescue a confused couple from a gesticulating golfer as they headed for the beach on Sunday.
And the next Bank Holiday weekend is only a week away from this edition – on May 4 to 6.
Image Credits: Rye News library, John Minter, RHSC, Kenneth Bird.